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Goldsmiths’-Kress Library of Economic Literature

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About this Collection

Goldsmiths-Kress Library of Economic Literature


This Consolidated Guide will serve as the primary access tool to the Goldsmiths-Kress Library of Economic Literature microfilm collection. Since it reflects the merging of two major collections, the guide may well be the single most comprehensive and useful bibliography in existence for early literature of political economics, encompassing a complete world-view.

Two libraries have traditionally stood unrivalled for their superb collections of early works in the literature of economics and business: The Goldsmiths Library of Economic Literature at the University of London and The Kress Library of Business and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in Boston. We have combined the holdings of these two libraries to create on microfilm the Goldsmiths-Kress Library of Economic Literature. Segment I of the microfilm collection comprises the pre-1801 holdings of the two libraries, approximately 30,000 titles.

The microfilm collection is primarily based on the following bibliographies:

Margaret Canney and David Knott, compilers. Catalogue of the Goldsmiths Library of Economic Literature: Volume I. Printed Books to 1800. London: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

Kress Library of Business and Economics: Catalogue. Volume I, Through 1776; Volume II, 1777-1817; Volume III, 1818-1848; Volume IV, Supplement, 1473-1967. Boston; Baker Library, Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, 1940-1967.

The original nucleus of both libraries was assembled by the same man, Professor Herbert Somerton Foxwell, who began collecting works in the early literature of economics in 1875. Professor Foxwell's first major collection formed the basis of the Goldsmiths Library in 1901; his second collection formed the basis of the Kress Library, established in 1938, two years after Foxwells death.

The microfilm collection is described by Nathan Rosenberg, Professor of Economics at the University of Wisconsin and Editor of the ""Journal of Economic History," in this way:

"It is belaboring the painfully obvious to say that no library could possibly hope to build up a comparable collection by book purchases today . . . These two collections are comprehensive in their coverage; they contain, in some cases, the only known extant copies of certain works, and they include numerous books of fascinating provenance--books from the personal libraries of such personages as Adam Smith, Lord Sheffield, David Ricardo, John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, William Wilberforce, Robert Owen, Sir Robert Peel, William Wordsworth, and Karl Marx."

In addition to the standard, well-known works used in studying the history of economics and business, the microfilm library contains unusual and exceedingly rare items which offer unique possibilities for comparative and cross-cultural research in the history of economic thought. Moreover, the collection is extremely rich in materials on political and social history in particular, and on history in general. Individual works are seldom confined to a single academic discipline, as the period antedates modern academic specialization. The micropublication thus constitutes a major research source for all social scientists and historians, as well as for economists.

In designing a format for the organization of the film and the Consolidated Guide, the editors in concert with librarians from both institutions, decided to follow the more detailed, subject-oriented approach which is found in the Catalogue of the Goldsmiths Library. This Consolidated Guide (like the microfilm itself) follows the year/subject/alphabetical format of that catalogue, and classifies the material, by year, under the following categories:

General: including general treatises on sociology and political science as well as economics; topography, and the theoretical and general aspects of emigration.

Agriculture: including fishing, mining, surveying and landed property in all its aspects except tithes.

Corn Laws: including their agricultural, financial and commercial aspects.


Trades and Manufactures: including practical manuals and technology in general.

Commerce: including shipping, piracy and smuggling.

Colonies: including all subjects relating to particular colonial areas, but not usually those concerning the relations between the mother country and the colonies.

Finance: including coinage, numismatics and tithes.

Transport: including transport technology.

Social Conditions: including public order, public utilities, debtor and creditor (except discussions from a financial standpoint), penology, criminology, trades unions and temperance.


Politics: including some political theory.

Socialism: limited to theoretical works on the subject and not including works on other subjects from a socialist viewpoint.

Miscellaneous: including national defense, local government, subjects not relevant to the social sciences (e.g., theology), and the unclassifiable.1

Items from the Kress Library were first classified and then sorted into Goldsmiths Catalogue subject categories and listed after the Goldsmiths items in each category. In integrating the two collections, duplicates have been eliminated.

The arrangement of items in the Guide by category headings within each year makes possible broad overviews of particular subjects. For instance, the user can easily locate all materials written about commerce in Italy between 1730 and 1740 by scanning the entries under the "Commerce" subject heading for all of those years.

The numbering system of the Catalogue of the Goldsmiths Library has been maintained as the basic numbering system of the Consolidated Guide. Kress items are assigned entry numbers compatible with the Goldsmiths Catalogue entry numbers.

Entries for items from the Goldsmiths Library have been verified to insure that they conform to Library of Congress practice. When LC headings could not be established, other sources were used. The most valuable sources were the Kress bibliographical listings, the British Museum Catalogue, Bibliothèque Nationale, Hanson, and Wing.

The Consolidated Guide serves also as the Reel Index. Entries note the number of the item and the number of the microfilm reel on which it is located. This simplifies retrieval, making it easy to move quickly from this guide to any item on the microfilm.

Targets before each title on the film identify the item by year, by subject category and by the bibliographic entry number used in the Consolidated Guide. The target also includes an image of the bibliographic entry and/or catalogue card for the item and an acknowledgement naming the filming source. Where we have drawn material from other sources (such as the Seligman Library at Columbia University or the Yale University Libraries) to complete this collection, an explanatory note appears directly after the target number.

The Consolidated Guide volumes for Segment II and Segment III are organized in the same manner as has been described for Segment I.



1 Canney and Knott, Catalogue of the Goldsmiths Library, p. xix.

2 British Museum. Dept. of Printed Books. General Catalogue of Printed Books. London: Trustees, 1931-. V. 1-.

Paris. Bibliothèque Nationale. Catalogue General des Livres Imprimes: Auteurs. Paris: Impr. Nationale,

1900-1963. v.1-189. (In progress)

Hanson, L.W. Contemporary Printed Sources for British and Irish Economic History 1701-1750. London:

Cambridge University Press, 1963

Wing, Dopnald Goddard. Short-title Catalog of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British

America and of English Books Printed in Other Countries, 1641-1700. New York: Columbia University Press,

1945-51. 3 v.


Introduction to Volume V

In 1976, Primary Source Microfilm (then Research Publications International) published its Goldsmiths-Kress Library of Economic Literature, (G-K) microfilm collection. The collection brought together the holdings of two libraries at the University of London (Goldsmiths) and Harvard (Kress) which are unrivalled for early works in the literature of economics and business. In doing so, Primary Source Microfilm created the definitive research collection in economic history and the single most comprehensive bibliography on the subject.

This microfilm offering, Volume V, brings together additions to the University of Londons collection. It is intended to enhance and expand upon the many subjects covered in the master collection, including agriculture, trades and manufactures, commerce, colonization of the Americas, slavery, and socialism, among others.

The arrangement follows the Catalogue of the Goldsmiths Library of Economic Literature, Volume V, published in 1995 by the Athlone Press. For its part, that catalogue continues the chronological and numerical arrangements of volumes G-K I-III. Accordingly, each item is identified by:

Provenance (i.e. Goldsmiths Library);
Year of publication;
Printed catalogue number;

This is followed by author, title, and imprint information as well as physical description.

We are pleased to be able to offer this continuation of one of our key collections.


This microfilm collection could not have been produced without the cooperation and assistance of many individuals and institutions. We are indebted especially to Kenneth Carpenter, Curator of The Kress Library; Margaret Canney, of the Goldsmiths Library; Kenneth Garside, Director of the University Library and Goldsmiths Librarian; D.T. Richnell, past Director of the University Library and Goldsmiths Librarian; Lawrence Kipp, Librarian of Baker Library; and Kenneth Loft, Rare Books Librarian of the Seligman Library.

We would like to express our appreciation to the University of London and Harvard University, and also to the Seligman Library at Columbia University and the Yale University Libraries, for their assistance in allowing us to use their rich resources.